UAE gains membership to international space exploration coordination group
The UAE Space Agency has recently gained membership to the International Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG), making the UAE the first Arab country to join the prestigious global organisation.
The nation’s membership was gained following approval from the ISECG committee which was a necessary requirement. As part of this it was essential for the Agency to show evidence of skilled human resources and experience that qualifies it to be in the ranks of the advanced countries in the field of space exploration.
This decision came off the back of a meeting for ISECG, which was held at the center of the European Space Operations Centre for the European Space Agency, which brought together representatives from 14 space agencies, including the US space agency NASA, the Organization for the Japan Aerospace Exploration, the European Space Agency, the Italian Space Agency, the Chinese National Space Administration, the Canadian Space Agency, the Korean Institute for Space Research and the British Space Agency.
Dr. Khalifa Al Rumaithi, chairman of the UAE Space Agency expressed his delight at securing the membership as it represents the importance of the framework of cooperation between all international space agencies in this vital sector.
Dr. Rumaithi said that this type of cooperation feeds directly into the objectives of the Agency of which is to enter into international partnerships with those who share in the vision of space exploration and international efforts towards meeting the challenges in the space sector.
He added that the membership to the ISECG supports the UAE’s Mars mission and will help in achieving the mission’s for research on changes to the Martian atmosphere and weather.
Dr. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, director general for the UAE Space Agency said that the membership is proof of the world's recognition of the importance of the nation’s space program, which since its inception has taken great strides at all levels, given the nature of the space projects that have been taken on for the past 40 years in the UAE, making it the oldest state in the space industry in regionally.
Dr. Al Ahbabi added that the Agency will benefit greatly from its membership to the Committee as it will be given a platform to deliver the message of the nation, highlight its program and its capabilities in the field of space exploration. This will be done through cooperation with other Agencies, and through members sharing experiences, best practices and the latest space technology that will benefit the whole world.
In 2006, 14 space agencies began a series of discussions on global interest in space exploration. Together they took the unprecedented step of elaborating a vision for peaceful robotic and human space exploration, focusing on destinations within the Solar System where humans may one day live and work, and developed a common set of key space exploration themes. This vision was first articulated in 'The Global Exploration Strategy: The Framework for Coordination, 'hereinafter referred to as the 'Framework Document,' which was released on May 21, 2007. A key finding of the Framework Document is the need to establish a voluntary, non-binding international coordination mechanisim through which individual agencies may exchange information regarding interests, objectives, and plans in space exploration with the goal of strengthening both individual exploration programs as well as the collective effort.